Urban culture and climate change action

Hall 4, Room D
Partner (s)
Climate Heritage Network

Climate change intersects with urban cultural heritage in several ways. Looking at urban cultural heritage narrowly, addressing climate change involves protecting historic buildings from flooding and renovating them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But the implications are much broader than that.

The urban fabric of entire cities may be involved, as explicitly recognized in UNESCO World Heritage Cities. Moreover, cultural heritage involves not only tangible but also intangible assets – such as reviving nearly-lost indigenous building technologies and designs that may be superior to modern methods in terms of both adaptation and mitigation (e.g., open walled housing in Samoa).

Finally, understanding the nexus between climate and cultural heritage also involves exploring innovative ways to finance climate-proofing of historic urban areas, and extending collaborative networks by transferring know-how from North to South and South to South.


This session affords an opportunity to build knowledge and explore partnerships at this fascinating crossroads of urban cultural heritage and climate change by:        

  • Sensitizing participants to the importance of cultural heritage as a pathway to addressing climate change
  • Raising awareness among participants about the linkages between the nexus between climate and cultural heritage on the one hand, and localizing major global agendas on the other
  • Exposing leaders of cities with cultural heritage sites to networking opportunities and programmes that enhance collaboration and the exchange of information and good practices.
Guiding Questions
  1. How can cultural heritage contribute to transformative climate action?
  2. How important is it to take local culture into consideration when localizing global agendas including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement? 
  3. Sophisticated tools have been developed and significant financial resources dedicated to cultural preservation by some countries in the Global North. How well can such tools and practices be applied in the Global South?
  4. Are there replicable examples of effective North-South or South-South exchanges of knowledge and technologies to leverage cultural heritage in climate action?
  5. Traditional or indigenous practices such as cutting peat bogs and burning chaff after harvest may be harmful for the environment and climate. How can they be identified and addressed?
  6. How can cities engage the private sector in innovative initiatives to save and climate-proof both tangible and intangible cultural heritage assets?

Session Speakers